On April 24th Notes from Underground will once again let the cellar walls of St.Georg shake. The setting with the old murals in the heart of Kreuzberg is an insider tip apart from the brilliant luster and hipsterchic. Follow the sounds rising from the underground that will lead you down into the former wine cellar.
Martin Goett one of Heidelberg’s most talented singer song writers will open the night, touching the hearts of his audience with his gravelly voice. Followed by the international brass-toting, Berlin based band Strangers by Day. Drawing on influences from 50’s and 60’s rock ‘n’ roll with raw vocals and incorporating smooth harmonies from the doo-wop and soul groups of the same era, Strangers by Day deliver original tunes with a gritty vintage vibe. Join them for a night that will end with the finest vinyl tunes from the newborn label finowzoo.
S2S was in Interview with Angela Cory and Uri Mohilever from the band Strangers by Day.
S2S: How did the band Strangers by Day come to life?
Angela Cory: Strangers by Day has been a collective of musicians over its short history. But the foundation was a trio. I guess it started when I met our first drummer Nilo Gallego in a German course after we both had just arrived in Berlin. We played together with some other people from our class at parties, cabaret nights and in squat houses. Around the same time, I went for an audition for a singer with a local university big-band- I had to sing a song in front of the whole band of about 30 people! I failed the audition because they said my voice was too bluesy to front a big-band, but when I was leaving, Domenica Kastl (who was playing trumpet in the band at the time) came up to me and asked me if I was interested in starting something up together. We both sing and play guitar and Domenica also plays trumpet and I play sax, so we got together with Nilo on drums and vocals and that was the start. We were really excited about doing 3 part harmonies and switching instruments all the time. It was really fun. The band has grown to 5 people now, but most of the other musicians we have had over the years have also been people we met through the German school -our secret recipe- we were all new in Berlin and wanted to make music.
S2S: You started as an acoustic trio thrown together by chance. What experiences have you made with your newly formed band?
Angela Cory: At the start we were just an acoustic trio playing 50´s and 60´s rock and roll covers for our friends at parties. Our first gigs were without any amplification at all. Then we got a weekly spot playing in a pub in Kreuzberg for beer. We started to get a bit of a following and began earning a bit of money from passing the hat. In the end, the pub was so loud that we used the money and bought amps and a PA and asked other friends of ours from the German school to join us on bass. Nilo and I were writing songs and I always wanted to play only originals. The songs we were writing really needed a lead guitar and so we expanded again to include Uri Mohilever. We began performing at larger venues and our musical style moved from acoustic to electric. It was hard because while this was going on Nilo had to move away and so we had no fixed drummer. Our bass player also left to start his own project and so we spent almost a year playing gigs with a different rhythm section at nearly every show! Despite all the lineup changes we recorded our album- ´Polyesterdays´ last year and we are really excited about releasing it soon. Luckily, we had Joe Rosen (bass) and Richie Millin (drums) join us this year as our new rhythm section- things are on track for the band now. We are looking forward to the future and the direction our music will take.
S2S: How did you come up with the name “Strangers by Day”?
Angela Cory: It comes from the Stevie Wonder song-‘part-time lover.’
S2S: How would you describe your full-length album “Polyesterdays” that will come out soon in 2014?
Uri Mohilever: It’s a straight-forward old-school album, with a twist. The songs were written in a built in genre, so we kept it simple. We recorded them the way they were, and then added all kinds of stuff to give the sound more depth and layers.
S2S: What can we expect in 2014? How have you personally perceived the development of the last years?
Uri Mohilever: In the last years people kept coming and going, so it was hard to get the band to grow. There was actually no band! Fortunately, now we have Joe Rosen (Bass) and Rich Millin (Drums). They are an amazing rhythm section. In 2014 we will have many shows and as are getting tighter, growing more and more together we will record our second album.
S2S: Where do you see yourselves headed in the future?
Uri Mohilever: We want to perform as much as we can, attract the attention of more and more people as well as evolve ourselves to create something amazing. We will be trying new things, and develop our style. It takes time to build a band, both musically and practically. There’s also a lot of work that needs to be done besides the music, and we’re learning how to do it step by step.
S2S: What does the city Berlin mean to you?
Uri Mohilever: For me it means freedom. I never felt so much creative freedom as I have here. Compared to other major cities, there is something less pretentious and less competitive about Berlin. I remember walking around in London sometimes, seeing many “serious” people with suits, or super-stylish hipsters (not like the shaggy ones here), which kind of made me feel out-of-place sometimes. Here, I feel that I am naturally blending in. There is something easy-going about this city, and I love it.